Space

Aurora Station, the luxury space hotel slated to open by 2022

Aurora Station, the luxury spa...
In addition to hotel stays, Orion Span also plans to sell private "space condos" to those that can afford it
In addition to hotel stays, Orion Span also plans to sell private "space condos" to those that can afford it
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Aurora Station will start with just one module
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Aurora Station will start with just one module
The can hold 6 guests, including two crew
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The can hold 6 guests, including two crew
Future module additions are planned to increase the hotel's capacity
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Future module additions are planned to increase the hotel's capacity
In addition to hotel stays, Orion Span also plans to sell private "space condos" to those that can afford it
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In addition to hotel stays, Orion Span also plans to sell private "space condos" to those that can afford it
The first trips will last 12 days
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The first trips will last 12 days
Stays will cost of US$9.5 million per person
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Stays will cost of US$9.5 million per person
A three-month training program will precede each journey
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A three-month training program will precede each journey
No launch provider deal has been announced
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No launch provider deal has been announced
The cabin Orion Span plans to launch by late 2021
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The cabin Orion Span plans to launch by late 2021
The first guests could arrive as soon as 2022
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The first guests could arrive as soon as 2022
The Aurora Station space hotel
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The Aurora Station space hotel

For years we've seen space tourism touted as "coming soon," but the only real opportunity to buy your way into space were very rare private trips to the International Space Station with price tags north of US$20 million. The latest private company to get into the space tourism game is Orion Span, which recently revealed its Aurora Station space hotel, promising an extremely ambitious 2022 opening date.

Orion Span says it plans to launch the initial Aurora Station module into a low-Earth orbit, at an altitude of 200 miles (322 km), in 2021. This orbital altitude is slightly lower than the current positioning of the ISS, which is about 254 mi (408 km) above the Earth. The company says the module will boast the most windows of any spacecraft put into orbit, with people staying in private two-person suites on a 12-day round trip, with a three-month training program to get them astronaut-ready before the adventure commences.

"Orion Span has additionally taken what was historically a 24-month training regimen to prepare travelers to visit a space station and streamlined it to three months, at a fraction of the cost," says CEO and founder of Orion Span, Frank Bunger.

The cabin Orion Span plans to launch by late 2021
The cabin Orion Span plans to launch by late 2021

The hotel will be able to host four travelers at a time, plus two crew members guiding the journey. At a cost of US$9.5 million per person this is certainly not a budget holiday, despite Bunger's recent suggestion that, "Our goal is to make space accessible to all, by continuing to drive greater value at lower cost."

It's easy to be skeptical of this latest space tourism announcement. For well over a decade there have been a constant parade of different space hotel plans. Back in 2007 the Galactic Suite Project was revealed, promising an orbital getaway similar to the Aurora Station. The company even began taking bookings and by 2008 there were 38 hopeful travelers on the waiting list. The Galactic Suite Project obviously never came to pass – the website hasn't been updated since 2014.

The first guests could arrive as soon as 2022
The first guests could arrive as soon as 2022

Of course, it isn't particularly surprising many earlier space tourism announcements have been fatally delayed. Those following the burgeoning private space race will know that progress has been slow, but over the past few years things have started to pick up speed. SpaceX, Orbital ATK, Blue Origin and a number of other private spaceflight companies are speeding ahead with tests, and while Orion Span has not revealed any deal with a launch provider yet, it will surely have a several options to choose from.

Bunger notes that the longer-term plan for the company is to expand Aurora Station from just one module to many, with a variety of potential uses.

"Our architecture is such that we can easily add capacity, enabling us to grow with market demand like a city growing skyward on Earth," he says. "We will later sell dedicated modules as the world's first condominiums in space. Future Aurora owners can live in, visit, or sublease their space condo."

You can reserve a spot on the waiting list right now for just $80,000. This deposit is refundable if you change your mind, or if the ambitious 2022 opening date isn't met.

Source: Orion Span

10 comments
David Parks
I don't see how 9.5M is justified considering a 3-person SpaceX launch is currently priced around 60M. They seem to be losing 10.5M per person even before you factor in the cost of building and managing the station.
jimbo92107
Considering the astronomical cost, the incredible hassle, and the extreme risk of space travel, I think I'll opt for a fishing trip in Canada.
nigel14
I cannot see this as an intelligent use of earths resources. Loads of fuel, pollution etc for what benefit to humankind? I sort of get the argument that says why spend so much on space when we have such huge needs on earth, but I can justify that with steps forward in science - but the a straight profit motive for the benefit of a relatively small number stretches things a bit too far I think.
SimonClarke
I hope it does start up. it would be nice to be able to start getting some fare paying passengers into space. as the author of the article describes, there are many of these projects that start up and fade away. I'll get excited once the hotel modules are in space.
Kristianna Thomas
Tourists in space. This "hotel in Earth's Low Orbit has all the amenities you would expect from the Holiday Inn; hot and cold running water and a cot to sleep in. The novelty of being in space high above mother Earth is thrilling, but beside looking down upon us peons, what else is there to do? Does this hotel package come with a Space Walk outside the hotel, Can you take a selfie of the moon or Earth? Can you get internet and cellular coverage; Sprint, Verizon, or any other carrier? This is a 12 day tour of absolute boredom, and what do they have planned for your 12 day visit? I bet the newness would wear off by day six and this is a bit of a stretch. I would get bored on day three, as I float in my tin can, high above the moon. For I am very bored and I don't know what to do. Maybe I'll go to the top of the hotel and jump off; at $20 million dollars for 12 solar days.
owlbeyou
Three months of prep and 9.5 million bucks...you're not likely to want to go up there alone, so for 19M, you and your mate can share the experience, first training to be in (zero-gravity) shape for the trip; eating from tubes and defecating who knows where, brushing your teeth, sleeping in some kind of strapped-in cot, a smart phone to call your loved ones and take selfies, watching sci-fi movies in space, looking out the window at the (19) million dollar view, sex in space, and if I was up there soaking up the experience, I would most definitely want to smoke a joint to celebrate this most unbelievable journey/vacation, if it's allowed, and that goes for drinking any alcohol too. Hopefully, there won't be a medical emergency, the maid can't come up to clean the room, no room service (yet), you can't just step outside for some fresh air and a ride to an exclusive shopping mall, so you're basically prisoners to this concept (and capsule) for 12 days, and boredom is bound to be an issue, even a little. After all, you're not an astronaut in the ISS on a mission with lots of work to occupy your time. They say a good vacation is one where you don't want it to end, so when you come back down to earth, hopefully (with no regrets of not having taken a fishing trip to Canada!), you'll get to brag about your amazing space trip to all your friends and loved ones. 2022 is hopelessly optimistic. Bump it up at least five years.
Douglas Bennett Rogers
If this succeeds it may bootstrap massive expansion into space. As yet, we are kind of stuck with communications satellites as a profit center. Once there is space infrastructure, transportation in the vacuum is very easy. There are vital future commodities, such as helium three.
ljaques
I would absolutely adore going into space. I only lack 1) the youth (69 by the time they optimistically launch), 2) the money (on SS), and 3) a space taxi, to enjoy the trip as much as I could. So I'll sit right here and quietly resist giggling whilst reading about the richies who went up and found that their inner ears were not quite built for space. To those who do go, enjoy the H*ll out of it for me, will ya? I look forward to the space vlogs.
Derek Howe
David Parks - Gotta read the fine print...that doesn't count a rocket ride.
Nik
So, ''2001 A Space Odyssey,'' becomes 2031....? Just a little late!